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Infant Behav Dev. 2013 Apr;36(2):199-209. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2013.01.005. Epub 2013 Feb 28.

Gender and discipline in 5-12-month-old infants: a longitudinal study.

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Brown University, USA.


We examined the effects of infant age and gender on the behaviors of infants and mothers during discipline interactions using longitudinal, naturalistic, home-based, taped observations of 16 mother-infant dyads (eight males and eight females). These observations were conducted between the child ages of 5 and 12 months and used a devised Maternal Discipline Coding System to code for the occurrence of discipline events. During discipline interactions, mothers vocalized longer, used harsher tones, and used more explanations with older compared to younger infants. Male infants were more likely than female infants to cry or whine during discipline events. Mothers of male infants used longer vocalizations, more words, and more affectionate terms than mothers of female infants. Male infants were more difficult during discipline interactions than female infants, but it appeared that mothers of males responded to this difficulty by using milder discipline techniques.

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